Date Presented

Spring 4-24-2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Priscilla Gannicott

Second Advisor

Nancy Cowden

Third Advisor

David Freier


Echinacea purpurea is an herbal supplement used to reduce symptoms of common colds and flu-like illnesses. As of right now, it is not well understood what chemical components in the plant are immunologically active. The four main potentially immunologically active chemical components in E. purpurea are caffeic acid derivatives, alkamides, polyacetylenes, and polysaccharides. In this investigation, a protocol was developed in an attempt to identify polysaccharides present in Puritan’s Pride E. purpurea (aerial) “non-irradiated” herbal supplement First, an estimate of the crude total polysaccharide content in Puritan’s Pride and in a ChromaDex certified botanical standard (E. purpurea -powdered root) was performed and yielded 7.1% of the aerial plant material and 0.12% of the root material; respectively. To identify the individual polysaccharides present in E. purpurea, conversion into a form amenable for analysis by GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) required a sequential process of methylation, hydrolysis, reduction and acetylation to produce partially methylated alditol acetates (PMAAs). Although the proposed protocol was not completely successful, much has been learned to allow this project to continue with protocol modifications.